A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. > Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange

Student Exchange

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kajunchick:
Hi, my daughter has been bugging me about studying abroad for her junior year of high school. She is particularly interested in Germany. I've been researching it online, but I'd like some feedback from anyone who has experience with this.

Do you guys have any tips or advice? Screams of "Don't let her do it!" ? Encouraging stories?

She's an honor student, responsible, independent, and adventurous. I think she'd do well, but of course I'm concerned about safety.

NyaChan:
I was a study abroad peer mentor in college and studied abroad myself so I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to seriously consider studyign abroad. 

I would have been older than your daughter is now when I did it, but  as long as you use a reputable program, I don't think safety is any more of an issue in most countries than it would be if she was an on-campus college student (absent unexpected circumstances of course).  Some countries might actually be more safe than where she is now - for example: I went to undergrad at a campus that was in the city.  Japan by comparison was more safe for me as long as I was smart and used proper precautions. 

That said, I would encourage her to wait until she is in college - she will have a fuller experience for it and be able to approach the experience more independently than she can when she is only 16ish years old.  If you have any specific questions about it, feel free to PM me.  It has been a while since I've officially counseled someone about studying abroad, but I think I still have the basics down  :)

Steve:
I have studied abroad, and I agree with NyaChan: it is a very good experience for everyone, but she will benefit better if she is a little older. Germany is a pretty safe country, nice people mostly. Just be selective of the organisation she goes with. I went with Aspect (not even sure it still exists) and had a terrible time with them. There were other organisations that dealt with their students in a much better way.

QueenfaninCA:
Germany is neither much safer nor much unsafer than the US. I'm worried about something else: You don't write if she actually speaks German. If she learns it from scratch she's probably not going to learn much in school in that year. Also I'd check with her school how they credit her classes from there.

I grew up in Germany and some students I knew spent the equivalent year in the US. Despite speaking English well before they went, most of them ended up repeating that grade in Germany because the curricula were just too different and they couldn't keep up in class when they came back because they missed stuff that their peers in Germany had learned.

Betelnut:
I've often thought of being a host to an exchange student.  Anyone have experiences with that?

As for the OP?  I would let her do it in a heartbeat.  You regret the things you haven't done, generally speaking, and living in a foreign country is a tremendously enriching experience.

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